Short summary - David Copperfield or The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account) - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries -

Short summary - David Copperfield or The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)
Charles Dickens

David Copperfield was born half an orphan - six months after the death of his father. It so happened that when he was born there was an aunt of his father, Miss Betsy Trotwood - her marriage was so unsuccessful that she became a husband-hater, returned to her maiden name and settled in the wilderness. Before the marriage of her nephew, she loved him very much, but was reconciled with his choice and came to meet his wife only six months after his death. Miss Betsy expressed her desire to become the godmother of a newborn girl (she wanted a girl by all means), asked her to name Betsy Trotwood Copperfield and set out to "properly educate her," protecting her from all possible mistakes. Upon learning that the boy was born, she was so disappointed that, without saying goodbye, she left her nephew's house forever.

As a child, David is surrounded by the cares and love of Peggotty's mother and nanny. But his mother is getting married a second time.

For the honeymoon, David and his nanny are sent to Yarmouth to stay with Brother Peggotty. So for the first time he finds himself in a hospitable longboat house and gets acquainted with its inhabitants: Mr. Peggotty, his nephew Ham, his niece Emley (David has a childish crush on her) and the widow of his companion Mrs. Gammage.

Returning home, David finds there a «new dad" - Mr. Mardston and a completely changed mother: now she is afraid to caress him and in all respects submits to her husband. When Mr. Mardston’s sister settles in, the boy’s life becomes completely unbearable. Mardstones are very proud of their hardness, meaning by it "the tyrannical, gloomy, arrogant, diabolical disposition inherent in both of them." The boy is taught at home; under the fierce glances of his stepfather and his sister, he becomes dull with fear and cannot answer the lesson. The only joy in his life is his father's books, which, fortunately, were in his room. For poor study, he is deprived of lunch, he is given a slap; finally, Mr. Mardston decides to resort to flogging. As soon as the first blow hit David, he bit his stepfather's hand. For this, he is sent to school by Sale House - right in the midst of the holidays. Mother said goodbye coldly to him under the watchful eyes of Miss Mardston, and only when the wagon drove away from home, faithful Peggotty sneaked into it and, showering «her Davy» with kisses, provided a basket with treats and a purse in which, besides other money, there were two half-crowns from the mother, wrapped in a piece of paper with the inscription: «For Davy. With love". At school, his back was immediately decorated with a poster: «Watch out! Biting! »The vacation ends, its inhabitants return to school, and David meets new friends - recognized leader among students James Stirford, six years older than him, and Tommy Traddles -« the funniest and most miserable, »the school is run by Mr. Crickle, whose method teaching - bullying and flogging; not only students, but also domestic ones are mortally afraid of him. Stirford, before whom Mr. Crickle is fawning.

The Christmas holidays are coming, and David goes home, not yet knowing that this meeting with his mother is destined to be the last: she soon dies, and David’s newborn brother dies. After his mother’s death, David no longer returns to school: Mr. Mardston explains to him that education costs money, and such as David Copperfield, it will not be useful, because it is time for them to earn a living. The boy is keenly aware of his abandonment: Mardstones calculated Peggotty, and the kind nanny is the only person in the world who loves him. Peggotty returns to Yarmouth and marries the carter Barkis; but before breaking up, she begged Mardston to let David go to Yarmouth, and he again finds himself in a longboat house on the seashore, where everyone sympathizes with him and everyone is kind to him - the last breath of love before hard trials.

Mardston sends David to London to work at the Mardston and Greenby Trading House. So at ten years old David enters into an independent life - that is, he becomes a slave to the company. Together with other boys, always hungry, he washes bottles all day, feeling how he gradually forgets school wisdom and is horrified at the thought that someone from his former life could see him. His suffering is strong and deep, but he does not complain.

David is very attached to the family of the owner of his apartment, Mr. Mikober, a frivolous loser, constantly besieged by creditors and living in the eternal hope that someday "happiness will smile at us." Mrs. Mikober, easily hysterical and equally comforting, now and then asks David to mortgage either a silver spoon or sugar tweezers. But they also have to part with Mikober: they end up in a debt prison, and after their release they go to seek happiness in Plymouth. David, who does not have a single loved one left in this city, firmly decides to run to grandmother Trotwood. In a letter, he asks Peggotty where his grandmother lives, and asks to send him half a guinea on credit. Having received money and a very vague answer that Miss Trotwood lives «somewhere near Dover,» David collects his things in a chest and goes to the post carriage station; they robbed him on the road, and, already without a chest and without money, he sets off on foot. He sleeps in the open air and sells a jacket and vest to buy bread, he is exposed to many dangers - and on the sixth day, hungry and dirty, with broken legs, he comes to Dover. Happily finding his grandmother's house, sobbing, he tells his story and asks for patronage. Grandmother writes to the Mardstones and promises to give a final answer after talking with them, and while they wash David, feed him dinner and put him in a real clean bed. with broken legs, comes to Dover. Happily finding his grandmother's house, sobbing, he tells his story and asks for patronage. Grandmother writes to the Mardstones and promises to give a final answer after talking with them, and while they wash David, feed him dinner and put him in a real clean bed. with broken legs, comes to Dover. Happily finding his grandmother's house, sobbing, he tells his story and asks for patronage. Grandmother writes to the Mardstones and promises to give a final answer after talking with them, and while they wash David, feed him dinner and put him in a real clean bed.

After talking with the Mardstones and realizing the whole measure of their gloom, rudeness and greed (taking advantage of the fact that David’s mother, who they brought to the grave, did not stipulate David’s share in the will, they took all her property without giving him a penny), the grandmother decides to become David's official guardian.

Finally, David returns to normal. His grandmother, although eccentric, is very, very kind, and not only to her grand-nephew. A quiet, crazy Mr. Dick lives in her house, whom she saved from Bedlam. David begins to study at Dr. Strong's Canterbury School; since there are no more places in the boarding school, the grandmother gratefully accepts the offer of her lawyer Mr. Wickfield to settle the boy with him. After the death of his wife, Mr. Wickfield, pouring grief, began to have an immoderate addiction to port; the only light of his life is the daughter of Agnes, the same age as David. For David, she also became a good angel. In Mr. Wickfield's law office is Uriah Hip - a disgusting type, redhead, wriggling all over, with red eyes, without eyelashes, with closed eyes, always cold and wet hands, to each of his phrases,

Dr. Strong's school is the exact opposite of Mr. Crickle's school. David is a successful student, and happy school days, warmed by the love of his grandmother, Mr. Dick, the kind angel Agnes, fly by instantly.

After graduation, grandmother offers David to go to London, visit Peggotty and, having a rest, choose his own business; David sets off to travel. In London, he meets Stirford, with whom he studied at Sale House. Stirford invites him to stay with his mother, and David accepts the invitation. In turn, David invites Stirford to go with him to Yarmouth.

They come to the house-boat at the moment of engagement of Emley and Ham, Emley grew and blossomed, women of the whole district hate her for her beauty and ability to dress with taste; she works as a seamstress. David lives in his nanny's house, Stirford in the inn; David wanders around the graveyard all day for his graves, Stirford goes to sea, arranges revels for sailors and captivates the entire population of the coast, «prompted by an unconscious desire to rule, an unaccountable need to conquer, conquer even that which has no value for him.» How David repents that he brought him here!

Stirford seduces Emley, and on the eve of the wedding, she runs away with him, "in order to return the lady or not to return at all." Ham's heart is broken, he longs to be forgotten at work, Mr. Peggotty sets off to look for Emley around the world, and only Mrs. Gammage remains in the longboat house - so that the light always burns in the window, in case Amley returns. For many years there is no news of her, at last David finds out that in Italy, Emley escaped from Stirford, when he, having bored her, invited her to marry his servant.

Grandmother offers David to choose a career as a lawyer - proctor at Dr. Commons. David agrees, grandmother contributes a thousand pounds for his training, arranges his life and returns to Dover.

David's independent life begins in London. He is glad to meet Tommy Traddles again, his friend in Sale House, who also works in the legal field, but, being poor, earns his living and training on his own. Traddles is engaged and passionately tells David about his Sophie. David is also in love - with Dora, the daughter of Mr. Spenlow, the owner of the company where he studies. Friends have something to talk about. Despite the fact that his life does not spoil him, Traddles is surprisingly good-natured. It turns out that the owners of his apartment are the spouses of Mycobaera; they are, as usual, entangled in debt. David is pleased to renew his acquaintance; Traddles and Mycobaera make up his circle of contact until the Mycobaeras leave for Canterbury - under the pressure of circumstances and inspired by the hope that «happiness smiled upon them»: Mr. Mikober got a job at Wickfield and Hip.

Uriah Hip, skillfully playing on Mr. Wickfield's weaknesses, became his companion and gradually takes over the office. He deliberately messes up accounts and shamelessly robs the company and its customers, soldering Mr. Wickfield and instilling in him the conviction that the cause of the disastrous state of affairs is his drunkenness. He settles in Mr. Wickfield's house and harasses Agnes. And Mikober, completely dependent on him, was hired to help him in his dirty business.

One of the victims of Uriah Heep is David's grandmother. She's busted; with Mr. Dick and all her belongings, she arrives in London, renting her house in Dover to feed herself. David is not at all discouraged by this news; he goes to work as a secretary to Dr. Strong, who retired and settled in London (the good angel Agnes recommended this place to him); also studying shorthand. Grandmother runs their household in such a way that it seems to David that he has become not poorer, but richer; Mr. Dick earns correspondence papers. Having mastered the shorthand, David begins to make very good money as a parliamentary reporter.

Upon learning of David’s financial situation, Mr. Spenlow, Dora’s father, refuses to leave his house. Dora is also afraid of poverty. David is inconsolable; but when Mr. Spenlow suddenly died, it turned out that his affairs were in complete disarray - Dora, who now lives with her aunts, is no richer than David. David is allowed to visit her; Aunt Dora got along well with David's grandmother. David is a little embarrassed that everyone treats Dora like a toy; but she herself has nothing against it. Upon reaching adulthood, David marries. This marriage was short-lived: two years later, Dora dies, not having time to grow up.

Mr. Peggotty finds Emley; after a long ordeal, she got to London, where Martha Endell, the fallen girl from Yarmouth, whom Amley had once helped, in turn rescues her and leads her uncle to her apartment. (David had the idea of bringing Emley to the search.) Mr. Peggotty now intends to emigrate to Australia, where no one will be interested in Emley's past.


Meanwhile, Mr. Mikober, unable to participate in Uriah Heap's frauds, with the help of Traddles exposes him. Mr. Wickfield's good name is saved, grandmother and other clients returned to their condition. Full of gratitude, Miss Trotwood and David pay on Mikober bills and lend to this glorious family of money: Mikober also decided to go to Australia. Mr. Wickfield liquidates the company and retires; Agnes opens a school for girls.

On the eve of the departure of the ship to Australia on the Yarmouth coast, a terrible storm occurred - it claimed the lives of Ham and Stirford.

After the death of Dora, David, who became a famous writer (he switched from journalism to fiction), goes to the continent in order to overcome his grief by working. Returning after three years, he marries Agnes, who, as it turned out, has loved him all his life. Grandmother finally became the godmother of Betsy Trotwood Copperfield (the name of one of her great-granddaughters); Peggotty nurses David's children; Traddles is also married and happy. The immigrants had a wonderful job in Australia. Uriah Heap is being held in a prison led by Mr. Crickle.

Thus, life put everything in its place.